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Tai Chi and Healing the Heart

Tai Chi and Healing the Heart
Answer
2/24/18 2:57 PM
Hi everyone,

My dad has a lot of difficult karma (ex alcoholic, none of his family members care for him anymore and many refuse to speak to him due to resentment and exhaustion dealing with his abusive speech and manipulative behaviour), and I am concerned for his well being. I'm the only person who really talks to him or is there for him.

I know that I cannot heal him or change him, I can just be as kind and compassionate as I can be. Nor can I make him want to take up specific practices, and he would naturally be aversive or uninterested if I suggested anything. But I was wondering if I might be able to nudge him in a good direction by gifting him something that is already in line with his interests.

The only practice that he has some interest in is a sun style tai chi practice video series that he follows. I was wondering if anybody knew of material that was related that would have an implicit message on the importance of healing the heart/mind/purification in a way that he might absorb / gain interest in if it is presented as part of the overall package. The tai chi he does is mainly presented as just a physical practice for bodily health and I think that that is mainly what he gets out of it. He is not so committed and I don't think he gets too much emotional purification from it. But if there was a book/video/teaching of some type that is already related to what he does that had some kind of description of a energy system model in which purification of the heart/mind was expressed as being part of the goal and something he would be able to attain, I wonder if that might inspire him or help him somehow.

He has expressed that he doesn't believe its possible for him to be happy, and I can understand that feeling from my own past of having depresion, and I remember how motivating it was when reading spiritual material that made the possibility of healing become real in my mind, and so I am hoping I might be able to trojan horse that idea into him somehow. He doesn't want to hear that idea from my own mouth though. I hope this is a wholesome wish and that it is clear I don't want to push anything on him at all. Its more like looking for an appropriate gift.

Any suggestions? Thanks everybody

RE: Tai Chi and Healing the Heart
Answer
2/24/18 4:04 PM as a reply to Andrew S.
Perhaps introducing him to Qigong would be helpful. When I did yang style tai chi practise decades ago, Qigong was practised alongside tai chi, they're complimentary. Qigong is very relaxing, and gives you a slow introduction to energy flow in the body as you become more sensitive to it. I don't have any particular books or teachers to recommend, just something to consider.

RE: Tai Chi and Healing the Heart
Answer
2/24/18 9:55 PM as a reply to Andrew S.
Have trained for 20 years in internal Chinese arts.  Trained in martial arts as a whole for nearly 35 years.  

Most taichi today is taught for physical health..this is what I focus on when I teach most newbies.  However, there are many dimensions to the slow art:

2) as an art form itself, poetry in motion and tool for self expression through motion.  Both physical and emotional expression.
3) as a fighting system.  (few people actually can pull this off, or train in the old methods so it'll be quite rare if you encounter anyone with power + ability to deploy)
4) as walking meditation

On the meditative path, actually many techniques you do on the cushion, can be applied to form practice.  You mention your dad needing to heal both emotionally and physically it sounds.  Absolutely this is part of the training...its taught through the framework of cultivating balance and qi flow.  Qi flow can simply be another word for impermanence imho.  And cultivation of balance, includes emotional balance. 

I would recommend he find a good, solid Tai Chi teacher.  A solid teacher will have strong ethical development (ie. sila) and likely, if they are good, will use the art itself to train concentration skills.  Those two skills together lead to wisdom, and if they are a good teacher (a seperate skill imho), then you might just have a trojan horse.  A good teacher will be a shining example to your dad of what is possible to achieve in this life. (that can be an encouragement...) 

PS - the mention of qigong as a supplement is common and likely b/c that's easier to get concentration for most than with tai chi movement.  (which is intricate and harder to master initially...most people end up having to spend a year digesting the movements first).   A good teacher might suggest students do sitting meditation right off the bat as well.  (although this is less conventional of an approach in traditional internal Chinese martial arts...)

RE: Tai Chi and Healing the Heart
Answer
2/25/18 12:06 AM as a reply to Andrew S.
A lot of people who have toxic backgrounds don't want to look in the mind because there is so much repressed regret and shame. It's too painful. The reality is that if people want to deal with that difficult stuff they need therapy, and especially to get to the point of crying to understand how they got to be where they are. 

Trying to change people is a form of fighting in a lot of people's eyes, like a choice between losing or winning. This is why influence by example is often better. Unless you have an air of authority that people want to imitate, they will do what they want to. People will imitate instead of following commands.

RE: Tai Chi and Healing the Heart
Answer
2/25/18 4:50 AM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Thanks Richard. Yes I agree with all that. I've tried in the past to "change or influence him" and it doesn't do good to anyone. Which is what I mean by just trying to be as kind as I can, is yes also to just be an example, which is just another way of saying to keep my own practice up as well as I can when I am with him.

He has no interest in doing therapy or looking into the regret and shame, which is why I have this notion of the trojan horse, that if he is able to do his tai chi practice with a slight modification that would produce a gradual purification, that might be useful. He is far too proud, indignant and arrogant to do any type of therapy or admit that he has done anything wrong to others. I don't know if I've ever heard him truly apologise to anyone without immediately justifying why he did it, so the apology comes across very clearly as a type of lie to get a result. I know that he has shed many, many tears in his life but its not in a way that produces much understanding, just more pity and sadness and resentment.

RE: Tai Chi and Healing the Heart
Answer
2/25/18 4:40 AM as a reply to Lars.
Thanks for the suggestion Lars. Maybe it is as simple as that. I've done a little Qi gong, I guess I'll have to look into it a bit more, cheers!

RE: Tai Chi and Healing the Heart
Answer
2/25/18 4:49 AM as a reply to tdiggy t diggy.
He is definitely not interested in taking up tai chi as a whole system or training under a teacher, its just something he does for himself. It wouldn't be my place to even suggest something like that to him anyway. 

My question isn't so much about what tai chi is or how deep it goes (I have a lot of interest in fascination with tai chi and it is wonderful how vast and expansive traditional chinese arts are), it was more about specifics of a model for how it produces healing, eg like how Shinzen Young describes how exactly vipassana produces purification it can motivate one to do vipassana.

RE: Tai Chi and Healing the Heart
Answer
2/25/18 10:15 AM as a reply to Andrew S.
From a model point of view, its rather simple.  You train (do exercise), and eventually you feel better.  ie. your body works out, get muscular training, does light weight cardio, stretches itself, that all influences the rest of your well being: ie. your emotional states, etc.  Feeling better gives you the energy to continue to train and rinse/repeat and go deeper.

All this can go very deep like with anything I suppose (leading to concentration and eventual wisdom), but the basic model is the above.

I agree with the comment on therapy: that sounds like what your pops really needs.  

RE: Tai Chi and Healing the Heart
Answer
2/27/18 12:59 PM as a reply to Andrew S.
Andrew S:
Thanks Richard. Yes I agree with all that. I've tried in the past to "change or influence him" and it doesn't do good to anyone. Which is what I mean by just trying to be as kind as I can, is yes also to just be an example, which is just another way of saying to keep my own practice up as well as I can when I am with him.

He has no interest in doing therapy or looking into the regret and shame, which is why I have this notion of the trojan horse, that if he is able to do his tai chi practice with a slight modification that would produce a gradual purification, that might be useful. He is far too proud, indignant and arrogant to do any type of therapy or admit that he has done anything wrong to others. I don't know if I've ever heard him truly apologise to anyone without immediately justifying why he did it, so the apology comes across very clearly as a type of lie to get a result. I know that he has shed many, many tears in his life but its not in a way that produces much understanding, just more pity and sadness and resentment.
I think you got a good handle on that Cluster B type and what to expect.

RE: Tai Chi and Healing the Heart
Answer
2/27/18 1:16 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Hi Richard,
I didn't know that there was a term for that, I'll look into it
thanks

RE: Tai Chi and Healing the Heart
Answer
3/2/18 11:24 PM as a reply to Andrew S.
In Chinese Medicine, the clarity of consciousness(神) can become shut down due to stagnant or blocked Qi within the meridians and especially within the yin organs; which manifest as various imbalanced behaviors. For example, stagnant lung Qi results in sadness, grief and depression. Liver Qi imbalances manifest as anger, impatience, irritation and frustration. Stagnant Spleen Qi results in worry and self doubt. Stagnant Kidney Qi results in excessive fear. And imbalanced Heart Qi manifests as over-excitement. 

By your dad practicing Taichi, he is gradually and subltly encouraging Qi flow withing these yin organs and meridians that will help relieve the stagnation and slowly rebalance conditions of the organs. 

I recommend researching Medical Qigong. You should youtube search for ``Chi Kung Healing workout``  Watch this video (by Dr. Jerry Alan Johnson) and see if its appropriate for you dad. You can also read an article about Medical Qigong Therapy here 

https://www.daoistmagic.com/medical-qigong-therapy-articles/

Best Wishes,
Thomas



RE: Tai Chi and Healing the Heart
Answer
3/3/18 4:01 AM as a reply to Thomas Jackson-Brown.
Thanks Thomas, that is the kind of info I was hoping to get. Seems like this will be interesting for my own health and healing too. Best wishes to you